Check out these new and used Howlin’ Wolf vinyl records LPs for sale. Howlin’ Wolf was born Chester Arthur Burnett in 1910 in White Station, Mississippi. Paul Oliver once wrote that the name Howlin’ Wolf was given to him by Jimmie Rogers, and Wolf himself once claimed that his grandfather gave him the name after warning him about “howling wolves” coming to get him if he misbehaved. Charlie Patton came into the picture around 1930, and Wolf learned a lot about the blues and showmanship from him. Wolf performed in the southern US in the 1930s with various blues musicians such as Sonny boy Williamson, Robert Johnson, Johnny Shines, and Robert Lockwood Junior. He had a brief stint in the U.S. Army in the early 40s, but it didn’t work out and he was discharged in 1943. Ike Turner discovered Wolf in 1951 and had him record a variety of tunes for Sam Phillips of Sun Records. Phillips was impressed by the raw talent of Wolf’s natural performance and the power of his soulful voice. Wolf relocated to Chicago in 1952 and played with many other important as musicians such as Lee Cooper, Freddie Robinson, and Buddy Guy. He had some songs on the Billboard national charts including Moanin’ at Midnight and How Many More Years. Wolf recorded his most popular songs in the 60s including Back Door Man, Spoonful, and Little Red Rooster. He recorded his last album in 1973 which was titled About Back Door Wolf. Wolf passed away in 1976 after complications from a kidney surgery. We recommend starting your Howlin’ Wolf vinyl collection with the essential Real Folk Blues which has some recent reissues. Our inventory is constantly changing, so check back often, or browse our list of vinyl from blues musicians.
Howlin’ Wolf: The Roaring Legend of Chicago Blues
Howlin’ Wolf, born Chester Arthur Burnett on June 10, 1910, in White Station, Mississippi, was a towering figure in the world of blues music. With a booming voice and a commanding stage presence, he earned his place as one of the most influential blues musicians of all time. Howlin’ Wolf’s career spanned several decades, and his contributions to the blues genre continue to reverberate through the annals of music history.
Early Life and Musical Beginnings
Chester Burnett’s early life was shaped by the rural Mississippi Delta. He grew up in a sharecropping family, and it was during these formative years that he began learning about the blues. He was influenced by local musicians and was particularly drawn to the work of Charley Patton. It was Patton who first introduced Burnett to the world of music, teaching him how to play guitar and inspiring him to pursue a career in the blues.
Migration to Chicago and Musical Career
In 1940, Chester Burnett, now performing as Howlin’ Wolf, migrated to Chicago, a city that would become a mecca for blues musicians. Chicago’s lively blues scene was the perfect backdrop for Wolf’s raw and electrifying style. He quickly established himself in the local clubs, singing and playing harmonica with a force that set him apart from his contemporaries.
Powerful Vocals and Commanding Stage Presence
Howlin’ Wolf’s distinctive style was characterized by his deep, guttural voice, which earned him his legendary moniker. His powerful and resonant vocals were matched only by his imposing stage presence. Standing at 6 feet 6 inches, he was an intimidating figure on stage, commanding attention with his charisma and booming voice.
Recording Career and Signature Songs
Howlin’ Wolf began recording for Chess Records in the early 1950s, marking the beginning of his illustrious recording career. His signature songs, including “Smokestack Lightning,” “Spoonful,” and “Back Door Man,” became blues classics and continue to be celebrated as some of the genre’s greatest compositions. “Smokestack Lightning,” with its haunting harmonica riff and Wolf’s impassioned singing, is considered one of his most iconic tracks.
Influence on the Blues Genre
Howlin’ Wolf’s influence on the blues genre was profound. His distinct vocal delivery and commanding stage presence left an indelible mark. He was not only a musician but also a larger-than-life personality who helped shape the Chicago blues sound. His contributions to the blues influenced countless artists who followed in his wake, including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, and the Rolling Stones.
Live Performances and Legendary Shows
Howlin’ Wolf’s live performances were legendary. His dynamic stage presence, electrifying harmonica playing, and growling vocals made his shows unforgettable. He had the rare ability to connect with audiences on an emotional level, and his live shows left a lasting impact on anyone fortunate enough to witness his performances.
Collaborations and Personal Struggles
Throughout his career, Howlin’ Wolf collaborated with prominent blues musicians, including guitarist Hubert Sumlin. Despite his musical success, he faced personal challenges, including issues related to health and alcohol. However, his unwavering commitment to his music drove him to continue performing and recording, even in the face of adversity.
Late Career and Passing
Howlin’ Wolf’s career extended into the late 1960s and early 1970s. He continued to tour and record, earning accolades and recognition for his contributions to music. Tragically, he passed away on January 10, 1976, leaving behind a legacy that remains an essential part of the blues canon.
Legacy and Enduring Impact
Howlin’ Wolf’s legacy is that of a blues legend whose powerful vocals and commanding stage presence continue to captivate audiences. His profound influence on the blues genre, as well as the wider landscape of rock and roll, is a testament to the timeless power of his music.
Howlin’ Wolf’s life and career represent the essence of the blues. His commanding stage presence, powerful vocals, and enduring influence on the genre continue to inspire new generations of musicians. As a larger-than-life figure in the world of blues, Howlin’ Wolf’s contributions to the blues are a reminder of the genre’s enduring power to convey emotion, share stories, and connect people through the universal language of music. His music, like the blues itself, remains a testament to the depth and complexity of the human experience.